News & Updates
February 2020 | Issue 3
Powered by Purpose | Research | Making a Difference | News | Worth Noting | Events
Powered by Purpose
February has been an incredibly exciting month for all of us working to improve access to effective mental health services and choices in Massachusetts!
On February 13, the Senate approved S. 2519, comprehensive mental health legislation that will bring us several steps closer to achieving true parity for mental health, including requiring coverage of psychiatric Emergency Services Programs by commercial health insurance companies and reforming medical necessity and prior authorization requirements for acute care. The bill also would address pediatric emergency department boarding and establish an advisory working group to examine child and adolescent screening for trauma and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).
Our heartfelt thanks to Senate President Karen Spilka, and Senators Julian Cyr, Cindy Friedman, and Michael Rodrigues for their vision and leadership in sponsoring this legislation. To learn more about why this bill is so important, please check out President Spilka’s video – and please watch for MAMH Action Alerts to help secure passage in the House! You will find more details about S. 2519 below.

Danna Mauch, PhD
President and CEO
Research Updates
Community poverty is a serious risk factor for youth suicide , according to a new study published in the January 27 issue of JAMA Pediatrics. Researchers found that children and teens living in high-poverty counties face a greater risk of dying by suicide, with the risk increasing in a "step-wise manner" as the concentration of poverty increased. Read more.

Over the last two decades, numerous research studies have firmly established the effectiveness of screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT) in pediatric practices for alcohol and other substances in reducing underage drinking and its harmful consequences. In research published by the American Academy of Pediatrics, researchers found that adolescents also had lower use of psychiatry services and lower overall outpatient use at 3 years after receiving SBIRT. Read more .

Several evidence-based options are available for treating depression, but determining which treatment is likely to work best for a specific person often has been a matter of trial and error. In a new study published in Nature Biotechnology, researchers say they have discovered a neural signature that predicts whether individuals with depression are likely to benefit from sertraline, a commonly prescribed antidepressant medication. Read more .

NIMH’s Research Domain Criteria Initiative (RDoc) creates a framework for researching and understanding human behavior and mental health conditions along multiple dimensions (e.g., cognition, mood, social interactions), rather than diagnosis. A new website provides background on this framework, including resources, webinars, and FAQs. Read more .

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Making a Difference
MAMH was pleased to support the Senate's passage of S.2519 An Act Addressing Barriers to Care in Mental Health or the "Mental Health ABC Act." To read MAMH's Press Statement in support of the bill, please click here . To read the Senate summary of the legislation, please click here .

MAMH is also grateful for the many amendments that were passed as part of this legislation, including:

  • Amendment 33 (filed by Senator Creem): Creating an advisory working group to review protocols and tools for screening children for trauma and adverse childhood experiences (ACEs)
  • Amendment 42 (filed by Senator Collins) - Establishing a Behavioral Health Workforce Commission (and naming MAMH as a member)
  • Amendment 48 (filed by Senator Lovely) - Strengthening the Expedited Admissions Policy in place at the Department of Mental Health to reduce the waits and incidences of Emergency Department boarding for youth under the age of 22
  • Amendment 78 (filed by Senator Comerford) - Strengthening mental health parity consumer protections

Many advocates were inspired by videos produced by Senate President Spilka and Senators Friedman and Cyr , sharing their own stories and reasons for supporting quality mental health care in the Commonwealth.
MAMH in the News
Worth Noting
This week (Feb. 23-29) is National Eating Disorders Week . Eating disorders can affect a person’s physical and mental health and, in some cases, are life-threatening. But eating disorders can be treated. Download shareable resources and find information about eating disorders to start a dialogue with others in your community.

With generous support from the Tufts Health Plan Foundation, MAMH has launched a statewide, online Older Adult and Behavioral Health Training Calendar . The calendar is searchable by topic and location, and includes a broad range of relevant training opportunities offered across the state. Access the calendar here. 

Funded by SAMHSA, the Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (MHTTC) Network provides free training and technical assistance to the mental health workforce for the purpose of technology transfer - disseminating and implementing evidence-based practices for prevention, treatment, and recovery of mental disorders. You can find published resources, archived webinars, and more here or by subscribing to the MHTTC network newsletter, Pathways. 

People with lived experience of recovery who are committed to transformational social change are invited to apply to Lived Experience Transformational Leadership Academy (LETLead) , sponsored by the SAMHSA New England MHTTC and the Yale Program for Recovery and Community Health. Read more .

The MHTTC Network and the National Center for School Mental Health collaborated on an overview of educator mental health literacy needs, including an annotated list of existing resources and trainings to support educators working to improve the mental health literacy of their students. Read more .
Upcoming Events
Tuesday, March 24, 7:00-8:15pm
Free webinar hosted by Families for Depression Awareness.

Tuesday, March 24, 11am
This webinar will share the results of this message research and help participants understand what arguments are most or least effective in getting people to understand why SSI is important, why it should be protected, and why it needs to be updated to better serve the people it was intended to assist.

May 13-14, 2020, Sheraton Hotel & Conference Center, Framingham
19th Annual Massachusettts Suicide Prevention Conference featuring keynote speakers Laura van Dernoot Lipsky and Eric Hipple.

May 17-19, 2020, Boston Marriott, Burlington
Join the conversation and learn more from national thought leaders about successful evidence-based efforts at jail and emergency department diversion, treatment, and follow-up care for at-risk and high-cost populations.

May 4, 2020, College of the Holy Cross, Worcester
Free, full-day conference addressing the impact of trauma in the lives of older adults. Sponsored by DMH and co-sponsored by the Executive Office of Elder Affairs, MA Aging and Mental Health Coalition, and MAMH. CEUs for social work will be requested.
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